World stocks crept higher on Friday, marginally extending gains that followed the United States' emergence from recession while the dollar steadied off the previous session's losses ahead of data that will add more fuel to the recovery debate.

While news the world's largest economy had finally emerged from recession gave markets a shot in the arm on Thursday, concerns remain over the world economic rebound.

Huge gains in risk assets since March are also making investors wary and preventing equity and commodity prices from moving significantly higher.

The MSCI world index .MIWD00000PUS inched up 0.3 percent, slightly extending gains from their 1.5 percent bounce on Thursday.

Stronger-than-expected U.S. growth conflicted with fears about the eventual withdrawal of massive stimulus measures in the United States and elsewhere.

These worries, as well as policy tightening signals from several central banks, earlier this week pushed stocks to their worst one-day falls since mid-August.

The market is waiting to see if the recovery is durable, said Jeremy Stretch, strategist at Rabobank in London.

The recovery is continuing but there are enough question marks to keep the market worried, he said citing the comatose U.S. jobs market.

European stocks .FTEU3 were flat after a 1.8 percent rise on Thursday, with energy companies taking a hit as oil prices slipped but bank shares moving higher.

Emerging stocks, hard hit by this week's shakeout, rose 0.7 percent .MSCIEF having gained a similar amount on Thursday. The index -- up 70 percent year-to-date -- has fallen over 4 percent this week and investors remain reluctant to add positions without more clarity on the economic outlook.

Analysts highlighted weak U.S. housing data this week and the fact that U.S. spending was buoyed by car scrappage schemes -- now being wound down -- as reasons to give stock investors pause for thought.

Markets are now awaiting Friday's University of Michigan confidence reading and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index to see if the optimism generated by the GDP data can be sustained.

Investors are also cautious ahead of next week's central bank policy meetings in the United States, the euro zone and Britain, which could provide clues about the pace at which stimulus measures will be withdrawn.

It will be more difficult for markets to rally further now, said Brian McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers. The U.S. GDP was good news on the day but markets will remain worried about stimulus withdrawal.


Enthusiasm was also dissipating on commodity and oil markets.

Oil which shot up 3 percent on hopes the U.S. growth numbers were brightening the outlook for energy demand, slipped 0.6 percent CLc1 though it remains not far off one-year highs of around $82 per barrel hit earlier this month.

The dollar edged higher against the euro to a 2-1/2 week high after falling on Thursday when risk appetite returned. But it fell versus the yen on month-end selling by Japanese firms.

Forex traders also sold back higher-yield currencies like the Australian dollar -- which surged 2 percent on Thursday -- though these losses may be limited if the upcoming data confirms the recovery picture.

The FOMC meeting next week will be key... if they take a more aggressive stance (on withdrawal measures) that would be positive for the dollar and disruptive for (high-yield) assets, said Shahin Vallee, emerging markets strategist at BNP Paribas.